Drought services

Drought Statement

The Drought Statement discusses recent rainfall compared to historical records and the impacts on soil moisture and water resources.

For over 50 years these statements have reported on the extent and severity of dry conditions across Australia through drought maps showing areas of rainfall deficiencies.

Sign up to receive the Drought Statement by email.

Drought Statement archive

An archive of all Drought Statement since 2000. Visit the National Meteorological Library for earlier copies.


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The Drought Statement contains information on areas in serious or severe rainfall deficiency or lowest on record. These categories are assigned by examining rainfall periods of three months or more for selected areas to see whether they are below the 10th percentile (lowest 10% of records).

  • Serious rainfall deficiency—rainfall lies in the lowest 5–10% of recorded rainfall for the period in question.
  • Severe rainfall deficiency—rainfall is among the lowest 5% for the period in question.
  • Lowest on record—lowest since at least 1900 when the data analysed begin.

Weekly rainfall

The Weekly Rainfall Update discusses rainfall for the past week and the impact it has had on areas experiencing rainfall deficiency. Weekly rainfall totals maps are provided, as well as locations which received the highest rainfall in each State and Territory. There are also maps showing the percentage of mean rainfall (1961–90 average) received for each drought period.

Drought Services Rainfall Update
Map: Example map from the Weekly Rainfall Update showing the percentage of mean rainfall (1961–90 average) for a given drought period.

Rainfall tracker

Daily and monthly maps back to 1900 are available . There is an archive to explore historical rainfall.

Drought Services Rainfall tracker
Map: Example rainfall decile map showing areas where rainfall was below average to lowest on record during the Federation drought.

Soil moisture

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Soil moisture levels can indicate the impact of rainfall received and are covered in the Drought Statement.

Soil moisture comparisons can point to how dry the landscape is and are used for agricultural and other purposes. See Australian Landscape Water Balance.


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The impact of rainfail on water resources, such as water storages or streamflows, has been included in the Drought Statement.

We compile and disseminate comprehensive national water information.

Special Climate Statements

Special Climate Statements summarise periods of significant weather and climate. They are produced for events which are unusual in the context of the climatology of the affected region, such as widespread, extreme heatwaves or prolonged periods of heavy rainfall and flooding. They serve as a record, providing the broader historical and climatological context for the events, and giving access to relevant data and information.

Influences on Australian climate

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Australia's climate can vary greatly from one year to the next. Influences and their impacts vary, and depend on the region and time of year.


Australian Climate InfluencesAustralian Climate Influences
An overview of the key drivers of Australian climate and climate variability across the continent and at different times of the year.

Managing Weather and Climate RiskManaging Weather and Climate Risk
A guide for agriculture to assist with understanding and managing weather and climate risk in Australia.

Drought declaration

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Droughts are officially declared by some State and Territory, and Federal governments. They consider rainfall as one factor in that decision. Our Drought Statement provides rainfall information to agencies and other decision-makers.